Breastfeeding Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
Answer: Download the How To Know My Baby Is Getting Enough Milk - English | Spanish and track your baby’s wet and dirty diapers. (Tip, there are lots of free phone apps that will help you with this!) The number of wet and dirty diapers varies in the first two days of life. By day three, your baby should have at least 3 wet diapers and 3 dirty diapers in the 24-hour period from day three to day four. If your baby has more than this, that is great! What goes in must come out! More diapers than the minimum shown means that your baby is getting plenty of milk. Your baby needs to see the pediatrician for a weight check on Day 5. By Day 5, your baby should have reached the lowest point of weight loss and may have started gaining weight. Your baby should be back to birth weight by age 2 weeks and is probably gaining an ounce (girls) to an ounce and a half (boys) a day. It is normal for your baby to eat very often in the beginning. You should be able to hear your baby swallowing breastmilk during the feeding. This is a good sign that milk is going into the baby. Any time you have concerns about your baby, consult with your baby’s doctor.
Q: How long should I breastfeed my baby?
Answer: Any amount of breastfeeding is great! The nutritional and psychological benefits continue well beyond the first year. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding, with the appropriate introduction of complementary foods around age six months, up to the age of 2 years and beyond! It is up to each mother to decide when to wean. And just remember….all new moms and babies experience days that are easy and days that are not, so feel free to call the Arkansas Breastfeeding Helpline any time! (1-800-445-6175)
Q: Why should I breastfeed?
Answer: Breastfeeding is good for you and your baby!
- Breastmilk is very easy to digest. Babies who are not breastfed have more allergies, more constipation and diarrhea, spit up more, and have more gas and stomach upsets.
- Babies who are not breastfed for the first 4 months have more ear and upper respiratory infections.
- Breastfeeding helps moms lose weight gained during pregnancy
- Breastfeeding moms reduce their risk of developing breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer
- Breastfeeding creates a special bond between moms and babies
Q: Does breastfeeding hurt?
Answer: Breastfeeding is a new sensation and may feel odd, or your breasts may feel tender, but breastfeeding should not hurt. If you are having pain when you breastfeed, call us at 1-800-445-6175. We are here to help!
Q: If I am returning to work or school, can I still breastfeed?
Answer: Yes, you can! The best preparation is to establish a good milk supply before you have to return to work or school. Breastfeed your baby often, and if possible, wait to add any feedings from a bottle until your baby is 3 or 4 weeks.
Once the bottle is introduced, continue to give your baby one bottle a day. This bottle could be filled with pumped breastmilk or formula, and the amount could be as little as one ounce. Babies love to feed directly from their mother, so you may need someone else other than you to give the bottle. If you feed your baby with a bottle, try holding your baby in a different way than how you hold it when breastfeeding.
Talk with your supervisor about your plans to breastfeed and ask about private areas where you can comfortably express milk.
About 2 weeks before you return to work or school, begin practicing as if you have already returned. For example, if you plan to pump at work at noon, begin pumping at home at that time. Give your baby the pumped milk by bottle.
You can also find additional information here.
Don’t forget to check out Federal and State Laws that support breastfeeding!